Leave It To Cleaver - Part 1

I’m pretty sure Ashley married me for my meat cleaver. No, that is not metaphorical for anything, I really am referring to the large cutting utensil in the cutlery set in the kitchen. There’s really no way for me to be laconic in the explanation of my premise so let me start with a little back-story. Cue dream sequence music….

When I first moved into my trendy downtown loft, I felt the high need to upgrade my household goods to a more sophisticated and mature look. Gone were the items I purchased as part of those Wal-Mart-Leaving-For-College specials allowing one to stock up on bulk quantities of towels, Tupper-ware, and underwear. I have to admit I felt slightly guilty ditching the 54-piece kitchen set that provided me a standard selection of pots, pans, cooking utensils and even four cobalt blue plastic place settings.

I did find it perplexing, however, that this would be marketed towards recent high school graduates headed to college for the first time. Usually, as I recall, freshman were confined to on-campus accommodations in dormitories, which did not come with cooking facilities or allow for hot plates in the rooms. Why would they need a full set of pots and pans? Most freshmen I have encountered can barely master a toaster so turning the future of America lose on the world armed with a quality set of discounted cooking utensils and a hotplate would be a literal recipe for anarchy. Still, times are changing and the rules imposed under the ruling regime while I attended college have surely been overthrown in a peaceful revolution. Besides, kids today need something to safely prepare their homemade crystal meth in.

I know I made reference to the high quality of my pots and pans but the truth is, after I melted an entire skillet in the oven while making Shepherd’s Pie I started to have my doubts. In case you are wondering I did eat the Shepherd’s Pie, but as I tried to rid myself of the metallic after-taste in my mouth, that became the final factor in ensuring the pots and pans would not be moving with me to the loft.

Tossing out my old pots, pans and dishes, of course meant replacing them with the “good stuff”, and by the “good stuff” I mean the quality of kitchenware that would help me score with the many fine young women I anticipated cycling through the “loft of love” (yes, I had issues). As such, I anxiously headed to one of those home specialty stores carrying the latest in home decorating and accessorizing. I grabbed a cart and started through the store.

The store itself is set up like a racetrack of sorts that allows for pit stops in sections such as bathrooms, curtains, or bedding before leading to the finish line at the checkout counter. I made visits to each of the section checking off item on the list I had put together. My longest and most important of these pit stops stop was naturally in the kitchen section.

There was a certain degree of smugness that came over me as I eyed the dizzying array of assorted utensils and cookware that no doubt would solidify my manly sensitivity in the eyes of the female beholder. These weren’t just your average, everyday, low-brow meth lab tools either. No, these were the real, highfalutin deal.

Fondling a rather modern looking spatula I fantasized about the moment I would be at a club, at which I would smile at a young, doe-eyed brunette standing next to me, and over the pulsing, techno club mix, yell into her ear, “I make a wicked omelet!” This, of course she would find impressive, and, voila, twelve hours later she would wake to me making an omelet so fluffy and light, it would get me invited for a guest appearance on Hell’s Kitchen. Yes, an omelet so delicious, I could actually see the French government awarding me their highest peace-time award (of which they have many given their war-time track record).

The fact that I hadn’t a clue as to how to make an omelet, but I hated them myself was completely immaterial to my little day-dream (ADD Rules!). I would learn to [be a] play[er] through the pain on both accounts, but like so many of my pre-conceived notions, my little plot to render the entire female species helpless in the wake of my eggs-rotic love potion didn’t play out as I had envisioned.

One evening at a club, I tried my omelet line over the music to which I received a puzzled look. “You make a mean… outlet?” Apparently she mistook my comment as some type of double entendre, and her face twisted in disgust. “You sick-o, freak!”

This is why I never liked picking up girls in clubs. “Uh, never mind.” Having lost my nerve I excused myself realizing I needed to alter the particulars of my strategy. Maybe I’ll try on-line match making?” I thought, “No, that would be stupid and desperate.”

One of the last items I had written on my list was, “…an impressive, quality set of knives that can be displayed on your kitchen counter, not only as a sign of your cooking skill, but also as a demonstration of your sense of style…” I’ll admit that at the time I wasn’t quite sure how a set of knives could objectively meet those criteria. I was sure that they needed to cut things. Beyond that I was lost. Relying on my instinctual male prowess, I deducted that quality and stylishness equate to which ever set has the most included items, which quickly resulted in my selection. All told, there were 15 pieces that included such items as a “bread-knife,” a “paring knife,” “culinary scissors,” and even one of those sharpening tools you see fathers use on the carving knife just before they slice up the holiday turkey.

Aside from the number of items, what really made this set of knives unique was the inclusion of a meat cleaver. I found that this tool aroused both curiosity and nostalgia in me in that my only experience with meat cleavers came as a child in the form of watching cooking shows on public television with my mother or laughing at cartoon characters who wielded them in the air as they chased their nemesis back and forth across the screen. This set of knives screamed of quality in much the same fashion as the cartoon mouse that used a meat-cleaver to cut off the cat’s tail. I was sold, and I ensured the knife block with meat cleaver held a position of prominence in my kitchen.

To Be Continued... Part 2 Enter The Dragon

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